UVic launches U-Bicycle bike share program

Campus Local News

One-year pilot program will see 30 bikes spread over six designated drop zones throughout campus

Two U-Bikes await riders in one of the six new drop zones. Photo by Nat Inez, Design Director.

If you have been on campus lately, you are likely to have noticed a little extra green sprouting up around the SUB and quad—and no, it’s not just nature starting to bloom this spring.

Earlier this month, UVic announced a partnership with U-Bicycle, the Chinese-based company famous for their lime-green shareable bikes.

“The U-Bicycle bike share program launched on May 1st. The bike share is a one-year pilot program that includes 30 bikes spread over six drop zones across the campus,” wrote Mike Wilson, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability, in an email interview with the Martlet.

After nearly two years of deliberation and strategizing, including a full year of community engagement, the university completed their Campus Cycling Plan earlier this year and found bike-sharing to be a necessary measure to enhance transportation on campus.

“Through the past 12-months of campus community engagement, one of the guiding principles that emerged from the process was to create new and enhanced cycling infrastructure on campus,” said Wilson.

“We see bike sharing as an excellent way to no only improve the connectivity of our multi-modal transportation system on campus, but also to provide better connections to destinations within the surrounding community.”

Wilson said the designated drop zones were placed in convenient and accessible areas on campus, highlighting the Student Union Building transit exchange, student housing area, and McPherson library as places where students can easily find and ride a bike.

Six new U-Bike drop zones have been constructed on campus. Screenshot via www.u-bicycle.ca/uvic.

To gain access to the bikes, users scan the barcode key located near the rear tire with the U-Bicycle app on their phones to unlock the tires and begin riding. The price point varies from purchasing a single 30 minute bike ride for a cost of $1, or buying a full day or year pass with unlimited rides ranging from $15 to $150.

Riders will also have to park the bikes back at one of the six designated drop areas on campus once their ride is finished, which is a far cry from the GPS tracking system U-Bicycle has used in the past year that allowed users to pick up and ride a bike wherever they saw one.  

Last June, the Martlet reported the bikes being left along parts Alumni Chip Trail or stranded on the side of a road, and in February CTV found that nearly half of U-Bicycle’s downtown fleet had been wiped out due to damage and vandalism.

With the Starbucks coming in the fall, and a fleet of 30 lime U-Bicycles spread across campus, students at UVic will surely be seeing a lot more green when classes ramp up again in September.